Gardening where the sidewalk ends

Lavender Share October 30, 2008

In my previous garden, lavender was hard to grow – we just didn’t have enough sun. Now we have the sunniest garden imaginable and inherited countless lavender plants. They line every path and set of stairs, to the point that their delightfulness is beginning to wear off a bit. Especially at this time of year, when I spend way too many hours snipping off their spent blooms to encourage good re-growth next season.

One thing lavender does is reseed itself, not quite with abandon, but enough so that new plants are always popping up somewhere. In my parking strip garden, reseeding is generally encouraged but when the lavender clumps get too big or are getting in the way of something else I’d like to put in, out they go. This time, I asked a neighbor if she’d like some of the discards and she happily agreed. I’d already given away divided crocosmia to another neighbor earlier in the week, so maybe I’ll get a few garden karma points for finding new homes for these guys instead of piling them in the yard waste.

This big clump was blocking the end of my stone path experiment, currently in progress:

Lavender clump

I dug it up and hacked it into a few pieces, transplanting some to better spots and potting up the rest to give away.

I also removed some of these “babies” before they get too much bigger and start overshadowing the shorter groundcovers:

Baby lavender

Of course I have a million black plastic nursery pots lying around, since I can never bring myself to toss them in the landfill and haven’t got around to finding a nursery that recycles/reuses them (yet another thing on the winter to-do list). Happily, they came in handy for potting up the give-away lavender:

Lavender all potted up to share

As soon as I’m off the computer, I’m running these across the street. This neighbor has been so generous to us in many ways, plus she is a professional pastry chef so I have a fantasy that she will actually use the lavender in a recipe someday. I’m just happy that I can give something back to her after all she’s done for our family, even if it’s just a few little orphaned plants.

(If you are visiting Washington State in the summer and have a chance to visit the Purple Haze Lavender Farm in Sequim, it’s supposed to be quite a place. Sequim is located in the “rain shadow” of the Olympic Mountains, so its climate is dryer and warmer than most of the rest of our area, hence the happiness of the lavender plants.)


8 Responses to “Lavender Share”

  1. Megan Says:

    A newly launched recycling program in Portland now allows us to put our nursery pots in our recycling bin for pickup every week. It is fantastic.

  2. Aerie-el Says:

    Sharing is so much fun! Do you use the lavender in your recipes?

    I had my first taste of lavender-vanilla ice cream at Purple Haze Lavender Farm during the Sequim Lavender Festival in July a couple years ago! Purple Haze, Cedarbrook, Jardin du soleil, and Angel Farm are my favorites to visit. They’ve already got info about next year’s Festival here:

  3. I love lavender–it is a very hardy and xeric plant. Oh, and it smells good, of course. 😉

    I know what you mean about them sometimes getting too big for their britches, though. I took out a couple overgrown specimens this year and from the way my neighbors reacted, you would have thought I’d committed a crime! Mind you, I have lavender everywhere, so it wasn’t like I was abandoning it for all time…I think they just liked it. I did, too, but the plants had outgrown their spots.

    I have a theory, though, that gardener’s are better at hard-hearted “editing” than non-gardeners. If a plant needs to be moved, tamed, or even taken out, so be it. 🙂

  4. Kim Says:

    My lavender has never seeded. Then again, I’ve been told we can’t overwinter lavender outside here – I had an 11 year old plant at my last home with a trunk diameter of about 2 inches. No one told the plant it wasn’t warm enough for it, I guess. I did lose my first lavender plant here in my new home, but I think it was too damp. While I can understand you may get weary of it with so much, I would like to have a bit of your sun and the happily seeding lavender! I’m like you on digging up the babies and sharing. I do that with many of my plants.

    I’m with you on the nursery pots, too. I can’t part with them either, I’m embarrassed to admit. I do give some (all he’ll take) to a local guy with a greenhouse.

    Let us know if your chef neighbor uses the lavender in a recipe!

  5. Racquel Says:

    Lavender is such a wonderfully fragrant plant. I’ve not had much luck with it overwintering in my garden.

  6. greenwalks Says:

    Megan –

    Huh, interesting! I just checked out the Portland city recycling info and you guys can do aluminum foil and motor oil too, unlike in Seattle. I’m jealous! I’m going to email the city and see why we don’t have that.


    Aerie-el –

    I’ve used lavender in sorbet and salads, and on goat cheese. My neighbor has made lavender ice cream and also maybe cookies? Probably other stuff too, she’s a genius in the kitchen. Thanks for the lavender festival link, maybe I’ll make it up there one of these years!


    Susan –

    It’s funny when other people bemoan your plant alterations. Well, I’ve done the same thing – had a hard time forgiving my folks for chopping down the apple tree that shaded their veggie garden, since I used to climb up and sit in it and pretend to be Harriet the Spy. I’m not very good with plant editing but I’m getting a little bit more ruthless with age! 🙂


    Kim –

    Funny how plants sometimes manage to grow outside their “official” zones. Like you said, don’t tell them, maybe they don’t realize they’re in the wrong climate!


    Racquel –

    Too bad, it’s so easy-care in my garden. Oh well, I’m sure you have many never-fail plants that I could never keep going past a single season!

  7. Camellia Says:

    Isn’t lavender the most wonderful smell. Even weeding around the clumps is rewarding, I get all intoxicated… ANd the blues, the blues. A cloud of those blue flowers a summer afternoon… (I’m getting carried away now)

  8. Lavender Says:

    I love the look and small of lavender plants, but as someone who grows them I agree that sometimes it is a bit of a pain to prune them so that you can really enjoy them next year too…

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